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Looking for a new smoker

I have been smoking for years with a barrel smoker with an offset fire box. The ting is almost rusted through at this point and am starting to look for something new.

I would love something that would work for both cold smoking and hot smoking and am willing to move from using charcoal to either gas or electric. Would like something that is nice and sturdy.

Please let me know what has worked for all of you.

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  1. Check out the BBQ, Smoking and Grilling forum here, I'm sure folks would be happy to help you part with your money on a new toy LOL

    http://chowhound.chow.com/boards/93

    1. I use the Brinkmann Smoke 'N Grill. Works awesome. I got mine on sale at Target for 15 American bones -- I couldn't believe it. I couldn't say no to that. I wasn't even in the market for a smoker. Three years of use now and not one complaint except the fact that I can't read the temperature gauge anymore because it's smoked out with "meat and wood tar" :)

      MSRP is $59.95 on their website:
      http://www.brinkmann.net/products/det...
      ...which means it's cheaper elsewhere. Even 59 bucks is a hella deal, in my opinion. It'll fit a medium turkey.

      You can smoke in just about any grill but this one works even better.

      1. http://www.walmart.com/ip/12429508?wm...
        I like this propane GOSM from Walmart for hot smoking. I also own @ Bradley electric that I think you can add a cold smoke generator to.
        Lots of good info here:
        http://amazingribs.com/index.html

          1. Shirley fabrication smokers are very nice.

            1. For electric, I would recommend looking at the smoking-it line and the smokintex line. Smokin-it, if you compare the two brands, gives you more for less: larger wheels, longer cord, higher wattage element, overall a larger unit for less money. Both are analog, and all stainless inside and out. And the smoking-it forum is super active, so join and ask questions, read the posts, good and bad.

              If you want a digital smoker, then look at cookshack. They are American made (the others imported) and pricey. But they have a 6 month paypal deal so you don't have to break the bank all as once.

              Good luck and happy smoking.

              1. I have a Traeger and love it. It will smoke, grill and has a cold smoke option. It uses favored wood pellets so you can use different kinds.
                Danny

                1. If you're willing to stick with charcoal and wood, the Weber Smokey Mountain is awesome. Holds heat so well, I've done a 10hr cook without adding fuel. Great website out there (weber virtual bullet or something) that has great tips and recipes. Very sturdy, really nothing to break.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: saeyedoc

                    I'll second with some additional information. My son-in-law and I took an all day smoking class from the Midwest BBQ Institute and the professional chef that's also an American Royal grand champion said the biggest bang for the buck is the Weber Smokey Mountain. Even competition BBQers use the WSM for some of the food they prepare. If money is no object you can get a really nice rig for $15,000 or if it is an object you can get professional results with a $300 WSM. I've had the cheapo depot smoker and my s-i-l had about 3 or 4 of them before he bought the WSM, then he asked me why it took him so long. I don't know how to cold smoke in it, I've never looked into it, but for regular smoking between 225 and 250 °F, it's spectacular. I typically do pork butts or briskets overnight and just add fuel before bed time and maybe if I need a little more time, first thing in the morning.

                    The WSM now comes in 3 different sizes, the small one is good for pork butts, but a bit small for a packer, you would have to seperate the flat from the point. The medium (which I have) will do 4 x 8 lb. pork butts or two medium size packers. The large 22½" model would handle 4 really large pork butts, two good sized packers, and a heck of a lot of ribs in a rack.

                    1. re: mikie

                      Even an ardent Egg head like myself has no issues suggesting a WSM.
                      A lot-o-Bang for the buck fo sho.

                    2. re: saeyedoc

                      Another vote for WSM. I had a New Braunfels offset smoker for years. OMG what a difference. So easy to control the temp. Uses very little fuel. Great results. Now comes in sizes. The original size ...about 18"...holds quite a bit.

                      1. re: tim irvine

                        Why no love for propane smokers? They are much easier to use, especially controlling temperatures. My first smoker was a charcoal, then I got a Bradley electric but my $170.00 GOSM from Walmart is the best of the lot.

                        1. re: zackly

                          There would be those that would say you don't get the same flavor unless you use charcoals, and some would say only lump coal, no briquettes. My instructor at the Midwest BBQ Institute insisted on lump, according to him briquettes have too many chemicals and taint the flavor. Te guy is an American Royal grand champion, he must know something,

                          1. re: mikie

                            I understand that but it's a lot of work. If you're going for competition quality Q I agree with you but you can get 90% of the quality he gets doing 20% of the work using a propane rig.I agree with him about briquettes. I can taste/smell chemicals on the food at least using Kingsford. Lump is the way to go.This is from a respwcted barbecue guru, Meathead:
                            http://amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyers_gui...

                            1. re: zackly

                              Have you tried a WSM? No it's not as easy as propane, but it's not much work. I use a method I found on the virtual bullet web site, where the starter coals are in the middle and burn their way to the outside. Because the whole smoker full of coals isn't lit, you start off at the right temperature and it stays that way through the process. I do check, but it's very consistent from about 225-250. It's about that simple. I often smoke overnight and usually add a few coals before bed and for a really long smoke a few when I get up. While I'm doing that I wrap the meat in foil. At that point I only need a few more hours and it's done.

                              I'm also a Meathead fan. He has a weather of information in his site. But nothing beats an all day hands on class, with your smoker, that was fantastic!

                              1. re: mikie

                                mikie, admittedly I'm a neophyte smoker (although a CIA trained retired chef) No I haven't tried a WSM but your description of how you maintain temp still seems like a lot of work to me. The problen I had with my charcoal smoker was it tended to get too hot.Remember I'm old & lazy.I turn out I think respectable BBQ from my smoker, not professional quality but very good, IMHO. Masterbuilt has had a propane smoker WITH a thermostat in their pipeline for a few years now. It will regulate temperature just like an indoor gas oven. I've been calling them every year for the last three and they tell me it's close but not ready yet. That unit should rock the lower end of the bbq world. It will be Ron Popeil easy.Truly set it and forget it! I was hot for a Traeger pellet smoker last year until I saw how cheaply made it was. For close to a grand it should be built at least as sturdy as a Weber gas grill. I hear that before they sent production to China they were better quality.

                                1. re: zackly

                                  I've had a WSM for quite a while and, yes, there is a little voodoo involved in regulating the temp but not much; the key is using the afore-mentioned 'minion method' of lighting the charcoal and keeping all the lower vents almost closed. You do this because once your WSM heats up it is difficult to dial-it-back so you restrict the airflow and do not let it get hot. Then she just sits at 250 or so for, heck, I've gotten over 12 hours sometimes.
                                  But if the propane works for you, nothing wrong with that at all :)

                          2. re: zackly

                            I grew up on propane and used natural gas after college. Wood and/or charcoal just tastes better. I DO NOT use petroleum based ignition sources either with wood and charcoal. Only the really bad briquettes are a problem to me as long as you DO NOT USE "starting fluid".

                      2. There's not a lot of information her on the Hasty Bake, but I picked one up last year and really love it. There are 2 advantages over my other smokers, a large continuous surface (18" X 29") and the coal rack is adjustable via a hand crank on the side. You can raise it up to sear, or drop it down low and keep the heat at a minimum. It's advertised as a Grill/Smoker/Oven, but I've only been smoking briskets for the past several months - and they always come out perfect. And because the surface is so large, I never have to cut them to make them fit a rack.

                        It's expensive ($999) but I got it for half-off at end of season. The reviews I've seen mention the durability (15+ years, some have kept it for twice as long), and it is built like a tank.